11 June 2014
China and Russia have jointly submitted an updated draft international treaty on banning the deployment of weapons in outer space to a UN-sponsored disarmament conference.
The US and Israel have repeatedly voted against UN resolutions on the prevention of an arms race in outer space.
The updated draft Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force Against Outer Space Objects, was presented at a plenary session of the Conference on Disarmament, the world’s sole multilateral forum for disarmament negotiations.
The new draft treaty prepared by Russia and China is a revised version of the one the two allies had presented earlier, including definition and scope of the treaty, organizations as well as mechanisms to solve disputes, said Wu Haitao, China’s ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary for disarmament affairs.
The Treaty on Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space and of the Threat or Use of Force Against Outer Space Objects (PPWT) was first proposed by China and Russia in February 2008 as an international legally binding treaty that would outlaw the weaponization of space.
Wu said this new draft treaty is aimed at advancing the Conference on Disarmament toward negotiations for signing an international legal document.
Space assets like satellites are at increasing threat of being disabled from hostile countries as risk of cyber-warfare grows.
Beijing has warned of the growing risks of the weaponization of outer space with the rapid development of space technology, which the Chinese Ambassador said will “hinder the peaceful use of outer space, break global strategic balance and stability and hamper nuclear disarmament”.
The existing legislation on outer space cannot prevent the use or the threat of force against outer space assets, Wu said.
Telecommunications, GPS navigation systems, power etc could be easily switched off with the disabling of satellites in the backdrop of a militarized outer space.
China has stressed during the UN conference on the urgent need to sign a new international legal document to prevent the weaponization of outer space.
China and Russia are willing to include suggestions and
ideas from other parties and continue to improve the draft
treat in order to lay a foundation for the start of
practical negotiations at the
Conference on Disarmament, Wu said.